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UCLA Offense Thrives in 5-2 Win Over Liberty

Sep 2, 2022
Riley Ferch (photo: Don Liebig)

LOS ANGELES – The No. 4-ranked UCLA men's soccer team potted a season-high five goals en route to a 5-2 win over Liberty on Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

The Bruins' (3-0-0) five scores were their most in a single game since Milan Iloski's historic five-goal performance in a 5-2 win against San Diego State on Oct. 6, 2019.

Senior midfielder Riley Ferch was UCLA's offensive standout on Friday, notching career highs in points (five) and goals (two). He figured in each of the Bruins' first three scores.

UCLA never trailed in a back-and-forth first half that featured six goals combined by both teams.

Ferch opened the game's scoring in the 13th minute, making a run through the middle of the 18 and arriving just at the right time to tap in a Jose Contell cross after it took a slight deflection off a Liberty defender and ended up on Ferch's left foot.

Liberty's Seth Clark knotted the game up in the 27th minute with a solid strike from above the box that stayed just inside the left post. It was the first goal allowed this season by UCLA in three games.

The 1-1 deadlock proved to be short-lived, as Ferch and junior forward Andre Ochoa teamed up for a go-ahead goal just 50 seconds later. Receiving a ball near the UCLA bench and behind the center line, Ferch hammered a long ball over the top for Ochoa, who out-raced his marker and beat the keeper to the ball just before a second bounce, finishing into an empty net.

Liberty (1-1-1) scored once more in the first half – Gora Gora deflected a pass from the keeper back into the net to briefly make it a 2-2 affair – but the Bruins went on to score three unanswered goals the rest of the way.

Ferch notched a brace and recorded the eventual game-winner in the 44th minute, heading home a Constantinos Michaelides cross at the far post. That tally gave the Bruins a 3-2 halftime lead.

UCLA settled things down in the second half, notching a pair of goals while limiting Liberty to just three shot attempts. The Bruins received some insurance in the 52nd minute when a low cross from Aaron Edwards was cleared into the Flames' net for an own goal.

Michaelides capped the scoring in the 66th minute, receiving a through ball inside the 18 from Pablo Greenlee and beating the keeper near post. Greenlee and freshman midfielder Cam Wilkerson both notched their first collegiate assists on the play, just over a minute after entering the game as substitutes. The contest also marked Wilkerson's first official NCAA appearance.

Shortly before Ferch's 13th-minute opener, Liberty put a shot on frame. That shot was UCLA's first shot on goal against this season, snapping a streak of 193 minutes to open the season.

UCLA concludes its current four-game homestand on Monday night, hosting Grand Canyon at 7:00 p.m. PT. The Pac-12 Networks will be on hand to televise the game.